Tag Archives: queerism

Appropriative Racial Politics VS Pseudo-Liberalism in Glee

So I am addicted to the new tv series Glee. I talk about it with friends and never miss an episode. Last night’s episode was…interesting in terms of racial identity.

Warning Spoilers Ahead

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Manifesto! 5/5 – Not The Marrying Kind – Statements…The End

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I think there’s humor in the hypocrisy of a movement that fights for marriage equality while lauding a film like “Brokeback Mountain” as romantic when the core basis of the film is an extra-marital affair. But it seems being on the down’low is acceptable as long as those engaging in it are white and only betraying women. Although the theme of pretending to be something you’re not fits in quite well with the homogenizing view of the large GLBTQ organizations.

Manifesto! 4/5 – Not The Marrying Kind: Statements…(cont.2)

Previously – Not The Marrying Kind: Statements…(cont.)

I believe that the fierceness and power of the movement has been bled out by the constant focus on marriage equality as the only issue of importance perpetuated by large, wealthy, privileged groups such as GLAAD and the HRC who are looking out for themselves as opposed to the community as a whole.

Manifesto! 3/5 – Not The Marrying Kind: Statements…(cont.)

Previously – Not The Marrying Kind: Statements…

I don’t understand how fighting tooth and claw for inclusion in such a problematic power structure such as marriage is a fight for everyone’s equality. A marginalized group fighting for a bigger piece of the pie rather than the eradication of the system has never led to liberation.

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Manifesto! 2/5 – Not The Marrying Kind: Statements…

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I understand that marriage is a prison, has a historical basis in silencing women and trading them like pieces of chattel and that a mere fifty years of “change” or transgressive reinterpretations can in no way wipe out a history of oppression and inequality stretching back centuries.

Manifesto! 1/5 – Not The Marrying Kind: Introduction

So both my readings last week went exceptionally well. I got a bunch of compliments on my prose piece and am going to submit it somewhere this week and despite my fear the Manifesto reading went swimmingly. The audience got what I was saying and was whooping and hollering in agreement. In fact after the reading I had a few people come up to me and ask if they could find it online or if it was posted anywhere. I had been on the fence about putting it up online simply because it is pretty radical and the blogosphere is a very different environment than the very radical space I was in for the reading. I’m not up for some of the comments I’ll inevitably get but having folks ask me if they could find it online made me realize that if no one sees or hears a manifesto what is the freaking point?!

So my Manifesto, Not The Marrying Kind will be going up in five parts this week. I’m breaking it up, not to make more posts out of it (or at least not just because of that) but because it’s the way I wrote it – in a series of chunks – and I like the idea of it being experienced in that way. In fact at the reading since we had interruptions from the audience they got it broken into sections as well and I think it worked very well, allowing folks to take in the previous points before moving on. Keep in mind that this is an early iteration of the work and it may grow, shrink, shift during any future re-writes however the core of it will not alter.

Not The Marrying Kind: Intro

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“Prop. 8 It Passed ‘Cause of Black People!” …. Yeeeeeeah, no.

So the new screed for the No on Prop. 8 people is that it’s the fault of black people that the proposition passed. So let’s break the numbers down, black people make up 6.7% of California and 52% of people voted yes on Prop. 8! Even if every black person in CA voted Yes on Prop. 8 it does not equal even remotely the number of white people who voted for it, so how is it our fault again? Why is the focus all on us?

Is there queerism within communities of color? Yes abso-fucking-lutely, but that’s present within all communities and we all need to do that work. I don’t mean to diminish that queerism at all but I also do not want it elevated because it’s occurring within a community of color which is the M.O. of a lot of the focus around the intersections of POC communities and queerism. Rarely if ever when queerism within POC communities is discussed do queer POC get a chance to speak on their experiences at the intersection of those two or more identities.

The whole campaign for ‘No on 8’ was fucked from the jump.

As my friend Jackie said – “The Yes on 8 people were smart, they campaigned heavily in People of Color communities from the beginning and their commercials included People of Color (POC)”.

The No on 8 people came into communities of color late and they came soft, the whole push for No. on 8 was soft. In so many ways the current push for gay rights is predicated on assimilating into the mainstream and yet somehow trying to keep enough status to call on People of Color communities and say, “We’re just like you! We’re allies!” But here’s the thing we’re only allies when you need something. When initiatives for/about POC have come up the gay community has mostly been completely silent. For more on this read LadyJax’s post Something told me this was going to happen. Where she talks about gentrification, coalition building and reciprocity. Like she says the No on 8 folks needed to come hard and say ‘Bottom line our rights are being taken away. We are a minority who is having our rights stripped and if it happens to us it can happen to you.’

Do two wrongs make a right? No absolutely not (and that’s not what LadyJax is saying either).

What is being said is that you can’t act just like any other cog in the oppressive system one second and then try to play on some invisible connection to POC the next when you’ve done nothing to nurture any kind of bond or relationship there. In so many ways the big GLBT organizations – HRC, GLAAD seem to ignore POC as much as possible you just have to look at the amount of praise that shows like The L Word & Queer As Folk receive as opposed the silence that shows that feature queer POC like Noah’s Arc are greeted with. They would like to ignore the fact that there are in fact queer POC. Communities of Color, our issues and problems are completely ignored and a lot of that has to do with the fact that rich gay white men, the focus and funding of GLAAD and HRC profit off of not remembering that – especially in regards to gentrification and the way that POC get treated in our own neighborhoods when gentrification begins. Because they would prefer to ignore us the outreach that happens is minimal if there at all. Is it any wonder that when we’re approached a couple of weeks before the election with comparisons to segregation and civil rights that we’re more likely to scoff than join hands and sing a round of kumbaya?

In so many ways liberals just expect the support of minorities just for being liberal but guess what it doesn’t work that way. We’re just like every other group of people, there are going to be some who are queer, some who aren’t, some who support Prop. 8 and some who don’t and you need to do the work, to do the outreach and to build communities not just come to us when you need something.

The bottom line is if the support of communities of color is sought then coalitions need to be built, we need to be acknowledged as a constituency that have power and pull and treated like any other. I mean the NAACP of California came out against Prop. 8 but was that mentioned anywhere that you saw? I only learned it this morning and that’s something that should have been explicitly brought up in their ads and literature.

I went a bit off point there but the fact is that not only is the assertion that it’s black people’s fault that Prop. 8 passed racist as all get out for spotlighting the their support for Prop. 8 as the deciding factor as opposed to the majority of white people that voted for it but it’s also exactly the kind of attitude that DOES NOT lead to coalition and relationship building. You want to win next time, you want POC support next time? Then you go into the community, you speak to people, you communicate, you build relationships. You don’t wag a blaming finger in the face of black folks and say “Oh it’s all your fault how could you?!” because that? Won’t get you any kind of positive reaction next time around.

For more posts from POC check out rydra_wong’s awesome linkspam.

Terminology – Metrosexual

I heard someone called a metrosexual on the street yesterday, in a joking laughing matter and remembered why I hate the term so much. Metrosexual is a supremely gendered term that just goes to reinforce gender roles.

A “metrosexual” is what exactly?

You might be “metrosexual” if:
1. You just can’t walk past a Banana Republic store without making a purchase.
2. You own 20 pairs of shoes, half a dozen pairs of sunglasses, just as many watches and you carry a man-purse.
3. You see a stylist instead of a barber, because barbers don’t do highlights.
4. You can make her lamb shanks and risotto for dinner and Eggs Benedict for breakfast… all from scratch.
5. You only wear Calvin Klein boxer-briefs.
6. You shave more than just your face. You also exfoliate and moisturize.
7. You would never, ever own a pickup truck.
8. You can’t imagine a day without hair styling products.
9. You’d rather drink wine than beer… but you’ll find out what estate and vintage first.
10. Despite being flattered (even proud) that gay guys hit on you, you still find the thought of actually getting intimate with another man truly repulsive.
“Some people think he’s gay, but he’s actually metrosexual.”
-via Urban Dictionary.com

Okay let’s unpack this a little bit. It’s a vile mix of enforcing gender roles, sexism and queerism. And a lot of this ties into the fact that for a lot of men the term metrosexual has taken the form of an attack on their masculinity.

Metrosexuals care about their looks, care about style, have taste and are refined in a general sense. These are trait societally expectedof women. I have many a female friend who can tell you of the horrible interactions they’ve had because they don’t practice hair removal or prefer Pabst to white wine or dress in a casual style all the time. The contempt for men who do these things not only reveals the contempt for these practices in general, practices more associated with women but also attempts to reinforce gender roles by strictly defining certain acts as “womanly” and “manly”. So there’s that. 

The contempt for metrosexuals and use of the term as an insult is a large scale version of schoolyard bullying. “These are things that men don’t do! If you do them you’re weird, not normal.”  The term itself is problematic because it exists at all, it’s main purpose seems to be to create a division between metrosexuals and “real men” who would never think of doing any of that “girly shit”. In addition to this it also acts as a form of protection for metrosexuals. It’s a defense mechanism that can be called in when they are accused of homosexuality, because any deviation from the strict male gender roles obviously must be a symptom of homosexuality but metrosexuality is still better than homosexuality. You can see this clearly in the definition above (#10). In fact almost all the definitions of Metrosexuality at Urban Dictionary contain a reference to homosexuality, usually an insult.

The discussion becomes even more complex when you bring race into it and point out that I’ve never seen anyone not white termed metrosexual, no matter how dressed up, refined or dapper they were. Because on the rare occasions we do get to see a Man of Color dressed up in any way 99.99% of times what is his role? He’s a mobster/gangster/defendant/crooked businessman/yakuza/drug dealer/pimp…you get the point.

So… in one term we have a confusing and intersecting web of misogyny, strict gender roles, queerism and racism. Is it any wonder I hate the term?

Orson Scott Card & Media Friday

By now most of you have probably heard about OSC’s rabidly heterosexist rant in the Mormon Times. If you haven’t check out Yonmei’s deconstruction over at Feminist SF – The Blog. Yonmei’s blogged extensively about OSC’s bigotry over on FemSF but his rant against marriage equality really takes the cake. Bankuei over at Deeper In The Gamereminded me of OSC’s book Songmaster, it’s a relevant point in the discussion that OSC does have queer characters in his books they just always come to horrible ends or realize the way they are is wrong and live in unhappy marriages.


So Media today! I recently talked about Comic Book Tattoo, the almost 500 page comic anthology with over 50 stories all based on Tori Amos’ songs. Well I read the whole thing and it’s amazing and I recommend it to everyone even if you’re not an Amos fan. If you are an Amos fan then sweet jebus you have to get this book! Reading the book while listening to the song that inspired it is fascinating the two different forms inform each other so much that you end up catching nuances in both works that you didn’t notice before. In celebration of that here’s some Tori, a couple classics, a couple from her newest album and one from her hard to find early metal album Y Kant Tori Read:

Problematic Things I Enjoy – I Kissed A Girl

Okay so the genesis for this (maybe-series of posts) post comes from my talk of Watchmen on Friday and the why I love it and think it’s a seminal work in comics despite my many issues with it in regards to race, gender and sexuality. So the point is to highlight something that is problematic but I still enjoy. Because we all have those things that we know are bad and have issues but that we like anyway. I think that it’s hard to be the “perfect” activist, you’re gonna like things that you know further an agenda you don’t agree with. I deal with this by dissecting and acknowledging the problems in the things because by doing so we can rob it of a lot of it’s power. When we know the message that’s trying to be communicated to us we can counteract it more easily in ourselves and friends.

Just my theory, you may disagree.

So the problematic thing I enjoy in this post is Katy Perry’s hit song – I Kissed A Girl. Oh beat and rhythm that I love is it possible to numerate all the ways the lyrics go wrong?

These lyrics froth with issues that include – a lack of female agency, a devaluation of lesbian relations and sexuality, treatment of women as only sexual beings unworthy of names, a continued preoccupation with what her boyfriend will think as opposed to what she feels like after this experience, the use of lesbian sexuality as a ploy to titillate therefore ignoring any validity in those feelings, encouraging bi-phobia and detrimentality to the acceptance of bisexuality as a valid identity choice because it can all be written off as experimentation. And possibly a lot more I haven’t picked up on yet, feel free to point them out, yet despite all this there’s something about the music and the sound of Perry’s voice (the deep tone of it) that I really like and I’ve been listening to the song on repeat.

If you haven’t seen it or heard it, here’s the video:

There’s something about the chorus and the way it’s produced that makes me want to move my feet even though I cringe at the calling of this other girl “an experimental game” and the continuing reference to “I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it”. Now I’m sure some think it’s just a cheeky fun song and I should lay off but pop culture influences everything around us and we ignore the things that gain popularity at our peril.

Verdict: So problematic that I refuse to give her some of my hard earned money in any way but I’ll shake my groove thing to it in the privacy of my own room and discuss the problems with others who enjoy it.

Off-Topic but somewhat related Coda: 

Now for politics and validation of alternative sexuality I much prefer Jill Sobule’s song of the same name. The story of two married women who end up finding more pleasure in each other than in their loud, annoying, brutish husbands. They have agenc, they make the decisions and from Jill I can take it because she’s made a career of commentary and satire in her songs. Jill is mocking the belief that lesbianism is a fad or stage of development whereas Katy seems to mock lesbianism itself. Jill Sobule, in case you don’t know, is a brilliant sarcastic singer-songwriter who’s been around for years. She’s articulate, quirky, off-the-wall and always interesting her songs. You might know her songs if not her, she’s a two hit wonder in mainstream music hitting it big with I Kissed A Girl & Supermodel – a sarcastic look at starvation and obsession with pop culture and models particularly.
Jills Sobule’s – I Kissed A Girl